Welcoming a new baby into your household is one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. After months (and sometimes even years) of hoping, planning, and preparing, you finally get to hold that little one in your arms! In that one instant, everything changes forever… and life becomes infinitely more challenging and more rewarding.
Of course, having a new baby isn’t just challenging – it’s also expensive. Between clothing, nursery furniture, and SO many diapers, you also must make sure that your baby stays healthy and safe with regular doctor’s appointments. This means that it’s essential to get health insurance for your baby as soon as you possibly can.
How do you get health insurance for your baby? What do you do if YOU’RE currently uninsured? You’re in luck; the birth of a little one actually qualifies you for several new options with private health insurance plans. Here is what you need to know before you welcome your bundle of joy to the world:
What is Special Enrollment?
While health insurance companies provide an important and essential service to the public (the ability to receive health care), they do still function as for-profit businesses. These companies need to take in more money than they pay out to stay afloat, which is why all insurers strive to discourage a little something called “adverse selection.”
Adverse selection occurs when more sick people get insurance than healthy people. If more sick people subscribe to a health insurance plan, their insurer will ultimately lose money paying out all their claims. As a result, many insurers would end up going out of business – and the few that remain would inevitably drive up their prices.
How do we avoid adverse selection? By instituting an open enrollment period. This period (typically the month of November) is the only time of the year you can buy health insurance – whether you’re sick or healthy. This encourages both sick people and healthy people to buy insurance plans, creating a balance that benefits both the insurance companies and their subscribers.
However, open enrollment doesn’t always suit every situation. What if you have a baby in January? Does he have to go uninsured until he’s 11 months old? Of course not! The birth or adoption of a child qualifies your family for a “special enrollment” period. Other special enrollment periods include losing health coverage (for example, losing your job or aging out of your parents’ plan), moving, or getting married.
During a special enrollment period, you can get private health insurance for yourself, your spouse, or any dependents you may have. However, you may need to provide certain documents or follow certain guidelines to obtain your healthcare coverage.
How to Enroll Your Baby in Private Health Insurance
It’s no secret that having a baby can be a very overwhelming experience. Your body is recovering from a tremendous ordeal. Your family and friends are likely stopping by constantly to congratulate you on the new addition. You’re adjusting to life with a brand-new person – a new person who needs constant care and attention! With so much going on, health insurance may be the last thing on your mind…
Don’t worry. Insurers understand this, and so newborn babies are covered under their mother’s plan for the first 30 days of their lives. This policy allows you to get health coverage for your child should they need it immediately (for example, if they require a NICU stay) while also giving you time to get settled at home with the little one.
However, new parents cannot wait too long to enroll their child in an insurance plan. Babies need their own coverage by the 31st day of their life – and the special enrollment period ends 60 days after birth. Therefore, parents need to get coverage for their child between day 31 and day 60, or else they may have to wait months before their child can get coverage.
Enrolling a baby in a healthcare plan is an intuitive process, but it varies from one company to another. If you’re insured by your employer, you may need to call your company’s healthcare point of contact and ask them to add your child to the plan. If you don’t have insurance at all (or you want to change your plan to better suit your growing family), you can purchase a plan through the healthcare marketplace or through sites like My Private Health Insurance. You will likely need to provide proof of the new addition (a birth certificate, adoption papers, or SSN), but once you deliver that information your child will be covered!
When Will My Baby’s Coverage Start?
When you enroll in health care coverage for your baby, the insurer will ask you for his or her date of birth or date of adoption. Coverage begins on that day, even if you enroll 60 days afterwards! This means that your insurance will cover your child’s health services from birth – even if he or she was not subscribed to the plan at that time.
This policy can be a saving grace for new parents. You can be certain that your little one will receive excellent health care from day one, AND that you won’t be saddled with crippling debt because of it! In this way, insurers make welcoming your new son or daughter just a little bit easier.
Keeping Your Family Healthy
Your health is one of the most important things in your life – and the health of your loved ones is doubly important! It’s necessary to have a health insurance plan for yourself and your family if you want to have regular doctor’s visits, get preventative care, and be prepared in case of a serious accident or illness.
Don’t miss out on getting private health insurance for yourself or your new baby! Visit My Private Health Insurance to get a free quote and see which insurance companies will best suit your growing family’s needs. Our team is here to answer any questions you have and set you up with the perfect healthcare plan.